NABU Launches in Kenya


NABU works with East African authors and illustrators to distribute locally produced children’s books in English and Kiswahili

Award-winning literacy organization NABU is launching its free reading app,, in Kenya this week, in partnership with local government and partners across the education sector. 

“NABU’s mission to drive locally written and crafted children’s storybooks free to all on a variety of platforms is something I applaud. I believe NABU will be a welcome new addition to Kenya’s collective effort to further grow our deep history of storytelling and culture of reading in all our children”, Said Rupert Corbishley, Regional Education and ECD advisor of the Aga Khan Foundation. 

Unlike other organizations that charge for their services or offer only foreign books, NABU maintains a free e-reading platform that is targeted at parents and teachers who want to ensure that their young children get the best possible start to their education, by serving them with engaging local stories.  

“Research shows that children who have access to books in their mother tongue at an early age make the bridge to reading in English and other languages,” said NABU Executive DIrector, Tanyella Evans. “We want to share beautiful, engaging stories where children can see themselves reflected in the pages, so they grow up to be confident readers.”

The organization aims to distribute over 150 free Swahili books in the coming months, ranging from early readers to independent readers. The free app also hosts over 1,000 children’s books in English, French, Kinyarwanda, and Lingala.

NABU also aims to support the Kenyan creative industry with training and commissions for authors and illustrators. The organization gives local creatives a chance to receive world-class training, global exposure, and earn a living by leveraging technology.  

One story “Ana Anandoto Kubwa” by local Kenyan author Stacy Cherono Bett and illustrated by Emmanuel Bagirishya is about a young girl who loves building things and aspires to be a structural engineer when she grows up. The book showcases how she overcomes her fear of failure and enrolls for a science competition as the only girl in class to do so. Despite being ridiculed by the boys in the competition, she works hard and emerges victorious. 

Titles from the latest NABU Swahili Collection

The reading app is available on both Android and iOS platforms. With an estimated  18 million Kenyan children at home during COVID-19, NABU provides valuable access to educational materials at home.  Some of the free stories even help children prevent the spread of the virus, such as Bingwa wa Kuzuia Virusi (The Virus Stopping Champion).

NABU is currently the fastest growing app in neighboring Rwanda, with over 85,000 downloads in 24 months, and 10,000 children reading every day. NABU’s Kenya Program Manager, Beryl Oywer, aims to replicate this success in the Kenyan market. 

“With the rise in internet penetration and access to smartphones in Kenya, children have been exposed to technology and are more likely to grow into autonomous and successful technology users. Access to reading materials will provide children with the basic skills in which they will acquire competency in order to be successful in school and develop skills critical for higher-order thinking.”

The general public is invited to a free webinar to launch the collection on 7th October 2020, and the NABU.ORG application is available on the Android or iOS app store for free download now. 


Nadia, age 5, a NABU reader in Rwanda.

About NABU

NABU is a non-profit organization, with a mission to solve the imbalance in children’s book creation and distribution, so all children can read and rise to their full potential. We disrupt the cycle of poverty by leveraging technology to publish children’s books for free on digital platforms in mother tongue languages. To learn more about our platform for readers go to

Press Inquiries

Beryl Oywer – Programs Manager, NABU Kenya


Bonnie Wekesa – Marketing Associate, NABU